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`Train SME managers from Commonwealth nations'

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Commonwealth Secretariat in talks with India

MR RAM VENUPRASAD, Adviser (Enterprise Development)

Chennai , April 28

Commonwealth Secretariat is in talks with the Union Ministry of Rural Development for starting a programme under which India will "impart training to managers from small and medium enterprises" from Commonwealth countries, Mr Ram Venuprasad, Adviser (Enterprise Development), Special Advisory Services Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, said today.

He said this while responding to a point made by a participant at the Fourth Commonwealth-India Small Business Competitiveness Development Programme, about networking small and medium enterprises for knowledge sharing.

The week-long programme, which began on April 23, was attended by 60 delegates from 34 Commonwealth countries.

Today - the last day of the programme - as the conference discussed financing of small enterprises, one of the organisers, the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) described the various programmes of Government of India for small industries development, dwelling at length on the recent initiatives in rating of small-scale units.

Rating scheme

The Chairman and Managing Director of NSIC, Mr H.P. Kumar, said the Corporation's scheme for rating of small and medium enterprises had been well received among the small industries. He said many companies were able to raise funds at lower rates after getting a rating. Rated companies also saw a rise in their stature and business, he said.

Another speaker, Mr K. Muthukumaran, General Manager, Exim Bank of India, noted that over time, getting credit-rated would become the norm. He observed that from a banker's perspective there were several knotty issues while financing SMEs. For example, many SMEs lacked clarity of vision, marketing ability, R&D capability, market intelligence, management bandwidth and succession plan.

Moreover, their financial statements do not always disclose full information and at times of recession, the SMEs are the first to get hit.

Still, Exim Bank of India had pioneered financing of exports from SMEs, by giving lines of credit to the buyers of the products, Mr Muthukumaran said. He said Exim Bank was the only institution that lent money for meeting market development expenses.

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